Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Plum Farm development’ Category

As the Observer looks back at another year gone by, we thought we’d take the opportunity to point out some people and issues that made an impact in Barrington Hills news, whether it was good, bad or just plain phony.

ThumbsUpPresident Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan were re-elected for their second terms in April 2017. We applaud their excellent service to our village and appreciate the personal sacrifices that they have made to keep Barrington Hills the special place that it is . conicek-300x200@2x

ThumbsUpMcLaughlin continued his astounding record of financial stewardship. Having analyzed every aspect of village spending for the last five years, Marty has surgically excised waste and improved efficiencies in the village budget. Since 2013, the tax levy has been reduced by 20%, 20% more road miles have been paved per year, and cash reserves have increased by 40%.McLaughlin-300x200@2x

ThumbsUpSince McLaughlin took office, every administrative employee at Village Hall has changed. In prior years, Barrington Hills hired a new Village Attorney and Treasurer, and, due to the retirement of Chief Michael Murphy, Rich Semelsberger became Police Chief. In 2017 alone, a new Building Permit Coordinator, new Engineering Firm, Clerk and a new acting Director of Administration were hired.

ThumbsDownTwo candidates from the “Your Barrington Hills” slate narrowly won election to the Board of Trustees. Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak ran on a platform of unfounded and disproven complaints about village governance, and promised to do more to: 1) protect open spaces and property rights, 2)produce better results for our tax dollars, 3) restore public safety and security which they alleged had been sacrificed, and 4) improve transparency and information distribution. More than eight months have passed since the duo were sworn into office, and nary a mention has been made of any of these so-called initiatives. And, not surprisingly, neither trustee has presented their new ideas for those better results for our tax dollars.  This confirms our belief that their sole reason for running for office was to attempt to change the current commercial horse boarding protections.

Paula Jacobsen Robert ZubakJacobsen and Zubak also made campaign promises to vigorously challenge the Plum Farm land development in Hoffman Estates, falsely accusing McLaughlin and Konicek of doing nothing to oppose the project. Yet Jacobsen and Zubak have not even aired the Plum Farm issue during a board meeting.

ThumbsUp For the first time in many years, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills did not officially involve itself in the village election. Despite pressure from some of the Club’s most strident and vocal members, club president Jane Clement declined to make an political endorsement to the RCBH membership. We commend her for that. Politics and non-profit social clubs shouldn’t mix.

ThumbsUpThe 2017 hiring of Nikki Panos as part-time Building Department permit coordinator was a breath of fresh air. Panos brought competence and professionalism to the office whose previous occupant was frequently brusque and unkempt. We congratulate Panos’ promotion to Village Clerk and are confident that residents will be well served by her.

Panos

Nikki Panos, Village Clerk

ThumbsUpThe wave of change at Village Hall continued with the engagement of a new engineering firm – Trotter & Associates – replacing Gewalt Hamilton. Gewalt Hamilton had served the Village for decades, but without review or evaluation. We look forward to the fresh perspective that Trotter will provide and hope that residents will receive better service at a lower cost.

ThumbsDownIn the spring of 2017, the owners of Barrington Hills Farm (whose 600+acres is now located almost entirely OUTSIDE the borders of Barrington Hills) flouted village laws when they demolished a home, engaged in major earth-moving, cut down numerous trees without adhering to the Tree Preservation Ordinance, and failed to obtain proper permits prior to engaging in the project. When the activity on this property (formerly owned by the recently deceased Barbara MacArthur) was finally discovered by the Village, two stop work order signs were posted by the village inspector, and both signs mysteriously disappeared. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and all the village could do was collect the permit fees and penalties months after the fact.

ThumbsDownApparently feeling slighted by having to follow the Village Code as all other residents and property owners have to do, the Barrington Hills Farm L.L.C. ownership demanded disconnection of the property in question into unincorporated McHenry County, a request that was granted by the Board of Trustees.

jokerSpeaking of Barrington Hills Farm, whatever happened to the HARPS facility they had planned near the intersection of Church and Chapel Roads, immediately adjacent to Barrington Hills homes on Alderberry Lane? It’s been over two years since representatives of the L.L.C. presented plans to both the village and McHenry County, and after all the hullabaloo they created over necessary curb cuts for the proposed driveway entrances and the nonsense over granting easements and rights-of-way, the corner remains undeveloped. There is no new information about the facility on the HARPS website either. Strange, isn’t it?

ThumbsUp

Trustee Brian Cecola continued his excellent management of the Village’s Roads and Bridges.  He is completely engaged in his position, interfacing well with residents, village engineering firm and his fellow board members.  Miles of road paving per year are up, and Cecola is looking to increase that benchmark in the coming years.  Congratulations for a job well done!

brian-c

Trustee Brian Cecola

ThumbsUp 2017 brought the long-overdue retirement of Village Administrator Bob Kosin. His 35 years of service to Barrington Hills is much appreciated, but Kosin had long since ceased serving the residents efficiently, and was increasingly difficult to work with. His convoluted explanations and arcane knowledge of village history may have been interesting in the past, but residents and commission members no longer found his digressions amusing or beneficial.

AnnaPaul

We are hopeful about the appointment of Anna Paul (previously Village Clerk) as acting Administrator. While the search for a permanent administrator may continue, the Observer has been pleased to watch Paul’s progression through the ranks of village administration. She offers a familiarity with VBH operations that no outside candidate with years of lead experience can match. Her organization and communication skills are outstanding, and despite her relative youth, she is steady, impartial and poised in any situation. We wish Anna Paul well in her new assignment.

jokerThe Observer usually doesn’t comment on state or federal races, but we feel compelled to comment on the unlikely candidacy of resident Kelly Mazeski in the Democratic Congressional primary in IL-06. Mazeski, whose recent civic resume consists of only of membership on the village’s Plan Commission, previously ran unsuccessfully for Village Board in 2013, and unsuccessfully for State Senate in 2016. Her campaign’s PR machine has been busy at work, trying to repackage her from the “financial expert” she called herself in 2016, now calling herself “mom/scientist/cancer survivor”. What’s next – butcher/baker/candlestick maker?

jokerSpeaking of Kelly Mazeski, it seems as though she’s been grasping for endorsements, trotting out support from “environmentalists” Karen Rosene and Karen Selman, as well as a big thumbs up from former trustee Mikey Harrington. Now that’s a lot to be proud of, isn’t it?

jokerAlthough he opted not to run for re-election as trustee, the specter of Fritz Gohl continues to loom over the village. Gohl, now receiving financial compensation as a Barrington Township trustee, still can claim his title of village buffoon. His frequent public comments during Board of Trustees meetings are no more logical or coherent now than they were during his tenure on the board.

ThumbsDownChuck Stewart, Village Arborist, is the last of the Kosin-era hold-overs. In appearances in front of village commissions and the BOT, Stewart communicates poorly and comes across as disorganized. The Observer is also concerned about the questionable judgment he demonstrated in enforcing the Tree Preservation Ordinance both in the Hasan case and in the aforementioned Barrington Hills Farm matter. Those faults, combined with an undisclosed potential conflict of interest (Stewart rents office space in a building owned by one of the members of the board of Barrington Hills Farm), makes him a poor choice to continue in the role of Village Arborist. The Village needs a tree expert who can communicate clearly with residents and builders, as well as with Village administration.

Read Full Post »

VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on tonight September 25th at 6:30 PM. The agenda and e-Packet can be found here.

Read Full Post »

PlumFarmAerial A group of South Barrington residents has filed a lawsuit against a developer and the village of Hoffman Estates in an attempt to stop the controversial Plum Farms development proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72.  The 127-page document filed Thursday in Cook County circuit court seeks declaratory judgment, injunction and other relief against plans to build single-family houses on a 145-acre parcel previously disconnected from Barrington Hills.

The 145-acre parcel is the largest portion of a total 185-acre development plan that would also include multifamily housing and commercial development. While Barrington Hills requires a minimum of 5 acres per lot, the density of the Plum Farms development would be much higher under new zoning approved by Hoffman Estates officials this spring.

The plaintiffs in the suit are more than 30 residents of the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington subdivision, an age-restricted retirement community immediately across Route 59 from the development site.

To read the full article in the Daily Herald, click here.

Read Full Post »

 Audio recordings from the May 23rd and June 26th 2017 meetings of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings for May edited by agenda item, click here.

To access the menu of recordings for June edited by agenda item, click this link.

The majority of the agenda points discussed at both meetings were routine, so we will instead direct your attention to a number of interesting non-agenda topics which produced the most fireworks.

  • Permit violations lead to disconnection request? Or “I was for it before I was against it”?As described during the May Board of Trustees meeting, the village had received several complaints regarding unauthorized tree removal with possible Heritage Tree Ordinance violations taking place, as well as the demolition of a 2943 sq. ft residence at 2400 Spring Creek Road without a demolition permit. The property was previously owned by the late Barbara MacArthur and had been sold to the trust which owns Barrington Hills Farms on March 24, 2017.

    The Village twice posted a Stop Work notice on the site and this notice was later removed twice, by persons unknown. Apparently, continued site activity has been taking place without permit on the property, in violation of the stop work order. The property owner could be subject to a fine of $750.00 per day if found guilty in  court.  As of the June 26 meeting, there had been no response received by the Village from the owner.

    Trustees Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak chose not to participate in the discussion of the violations. Perhaps that was because the individual controlling ownership of the property was a large contributor to “Your Barrington Hills”, the committee that backed the campaign of Jacobsen and Zubak in the April Village election?

    Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, the new property owner has now submitted a petition dated July 17, 2017 for disconnection of said property from the Village, which is being presented for consideration by the Board of Trustees at its July meeting tomorrow. Strangely, the chairman of Barrington Hills Farms had previously indicated during several public meetings his desire to bring the trust’s significant acreage contiguous to the cited property back into the Village.

    We wonder, are building and zoning regulations less stringent in McHenry County, or are there other more compelling reasons for disconnection?

    Discussion of the permit violations during the May meeting can be heard starting here. The follow-up conversation during the June meeting is found by clicking this link . (We would also direct listeners to pay special attention to Adminstrator Bob Kosin’s evasive answers when questioned about ownership of the property and the penalties for demolition of a residence without a permit.)

  • Were village email lists compromised during the last election?  The discussion from May can be heard here.
  • Misrepresentation of the handling of after hours police non-emergency calls? . Chief Semelsberger’s refutation of one resident’s assertions can be heard here.
  • One acre zoning for unincorporated McHenry parcels falsely stated by resident?  That discussion can be found here.
  • Slanderous remarks during public comments will not be tolerated by Board of Trustees.  We urge our readers to listen to this clip.

 

Read Full Post »

mclaughlin-e1493839255166-206x300

President McLaughlin

konicek-e1493839327558-219x300

Trustee Konicek Hannigan

On Tuesday night, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan were sworn in for their second terms, and the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate candidates Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak were sworn in for the first time.

In his opening remarks, President McLaughlin expressed his desire that board members, both old and new, would be working together in solving issues in a collaborative way and welcomed new ideas and initiatives. As hopeful and inclusive as his words were, we are not as optimistic that the new trustees will be anything more than a retread of the ideologies and failed policies espoused in past campaigns by former Village President Bob Abboud in 2009, the “Save Five Acres” slate in 2011 or the “Save Open Space” slate in 2015. In fact, most of the strategies employed by YBH in 2017 are directly out of the old regime’s playbook.

They employed the same strategy that Abboud did in his initial run for Village Presidency in 2005; create an issue (Save Five Acres), scare the residents with false allegations via a “ghost writer” (John Rosene), and impugn the character of those running against you. That technique was right out of the pages of “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, the patron saint of morally bankrupt liberal politicians, who believe that the end justifies the means!

Recently joining in this assault on the unwary residents of the Village was Kristina Anderson with her inflammatory and inaccurate comments to the Board of Trustees at their April meeting, as chronicled in our article April 24th Board Meeting Recordings Released

In response to the proposed Plum Farm development in Hoffman Estates on land disconnected from the Village in 2004, Anderson created a Facebook group to oppose the development primarily due to its projected tax and student impacts to School District 220 & 300 taxpayers. We applaud her and other participating residents for speaking up at Hoffman Estates public meetings on this crucial issue – it’s often these types of grass-roots movements that can have great influence.

However, in addressing the Village Board, Anderson crossed the line between innuendo and untruthfulness a number of times. She presented herself as the beacon of truth, but she provided zero evidence for her wide-ranging allegations. Here are just a few examples:

  • Allegation? Discontinuation of non-emergency police coverage.  REALITY: Untrue. Residents’ access to a non-emergency number still exists today, seven days a week. It has never gone away.  Chief Semelsberger described non-emergency call coverage during the April Board of Trustees meeting in detail. (see link. The only change is that after-hours non-emergency calls are now answered by Quad-com dispatchers, just as all village emergency 911 calls are. According to the Chief, these calls are answered by the same dispatch and our Barrington Hills officers respond as they always have if not engaged in true emergency situations.
  • Allegation? Hills and Dales Farm [sic] and Cressey’s property are already zoned by McHenry County for less than five acre lots. REALITY: Untrue. The Duchossois’ Hill ‘N Dale Farm and the Cressey’s Cresswood Farm, both located in unincorporated McHenry County, are NOT zoned for less than five acre lots. They are not zoned for lots of any size at all! Both are zoned A-1 for agriculture. This is a fact that is easily looked up and disproven.
  • Allegation? Board members haven’t declared their support for 5 acres. REALITY: Untrue. Every piece of literature from Colleen Konicek Hannigan and, Martin McLaughlin in 2013 and in 2017, and every piece of literature from Brian Croll, Michelle Maison and Brian Cecola in 2015 included a commitment to 5 acre zoning minimums. Over 5 years and in at least 12 mailers, each have each stated their support for five acre zoning. And every action by these five as members of the Board of Trustees has been consistent with maintaining this current zoning. There is not an ounce of truth to Ms. Anderson’s claims in this regard.
  • Allegation? Board members have undisclosed interests with the Hoffman Estates Plum Tree Farms developers. REALITY: Untrue. This is such a blatantly false allegation it’s hard to even take this breathless advocate of the people seriously here.  Anthony Iatarola does not have investors linked in ANY way to any members of the Board of Trustees. This claim is completely ridiculous, and, quite frankly, irresponsible.
  • Allegation? President McLaughlin and the Board of Trustees have not been using all legal means at their disposal to object to the Plum Farms development. REALITY: Untrue. As described in the aforementioned Observer summary of the April 24th Board of Trustee Meeting synopsis, many discussions, both public and behind the scenes, have taken place with participation by McLaughlin, Village Attorneys, Village Administration, Trustee Michelle Maison and others. With regard to the oft-mentioned 1.5-mile planning jurisdiction, the village’s lawyers have explained that this does not apply in this instance because Barrington Hills and Hoffman Estates do not have a border agreement (despite several overtures by Barrington Hills in recent years). South Barrington has a legal right to object because it DOES have a border agreement with its neighbor. And due to McLaughlin’s excellent relationship with South Barrington President Paula McCombie, Barrington Hills has been able to sit in on meetings with South Barrington and offer input on strategy.

The simple facts are that open space and 5 acre zoning in Barrington Hills are not threatened by the incumbent Village President and Trustees. We are extremely disappointed that a resident, and an attorney no less, would stand up at a Board Meeting and make such unfounded allegations and insinuations. And, sadly, many of those allegations also came out of Jacobsen and Zubak’s YBH campaign and were eerily reminiscent of the Abboud-backed Save 5 Acres and Save Open Space campaigns. And we are left to wonder if Ms. Anderson was making her opening statement for a 2019 trustee run. We sincerely hope not.

jacobsen-216x300

Trustee Jacobsen

zubak-193x300

Trustee Zubak

So here we are, just one month after the village election, seeing the inflammatory campaign rhetoric continue. If Jacobsen and Zubak decide to adhere to the failed strategies and policies of the deposed Abboud regime, they will only continue to divide the community, and will sadly bring more harm to the equestrian community which they profess to support.

Read Full Post »

unnamedA late addition to a newly approved residential development that could add more than 1,000 units in Hoffman Estates still hasn’t changed the minds of officials at Barrington School District 220.

The Barrington-based district has opposed the development since the project developer, 5a7 LLC in Barrington, proposed building residences on 185 acres near routes 59 and 72, arguing the massive housing project would overcrowd certain District 220 schools near the site.

Hoffman Estates officials decided to delay a vote on the proposal earlier this spring after District 220 and other area taxing bodies resoundingly rejected a proposed tax-increment-financing district for the project but they forged ahead Monday, agreeing unanimously to annex the proposed acreage into Hoffman Estates.

Village officials also approved a late addition to the proposal meant to address concerns raised by District 220 and nearby Algonquin-based School District 300, including a 5.5-acre parcel that would be developed into a new school building.

Martin McLaughlin, board president of Barrington Hills, called the addition of the 5.5 acres for a new school “a low-ball offer.”

“And the housing development does not fit with the character of area of routes 52 and 72, especially with high-rise buildings going in,” he said.

To read the full article in the Barrington Courier-Review, click here.

Read Full Post »

PlumFarmAerial Hoffman Estates village board members Monday unanimously approved a development agreement and rezoning for 185 acres at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 for the often controversial Plum Farms residential and commercial subdivision.

The biggest revision to the agreement before its approval was the village’s requirement of a minimum 5.5-acre school site donation.

Barrington Unit District 220 board President Brian Battle said his district and Community Unit District 300 both believe that unless that site happened to be next to a park, it likely wouldn’t be enough.

Nevertheless, he saw it as an improvement.

“For the village to dictate the minimum size is better than nothing,” Battle said. “We’d like to see that number boosted a little. … We’re still concerned about the density (of the development) and what it does to our taxpayers.”

Battle said the developers told him they would try to address the school districts’ concerns in their final plans. But he told village board members the two districts would wish to be involved in the review of those plans as early as possible.

To read the full article in the Daily Herald, click here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »